Wednesday, January 27, 2010

9. Burned - Ellen Hopkins

Audio read by Laura Flanagan, who gets high marks
For: YA, definitely older YA
published 2006
5 unabridged cd's
5 hrs. 15 min.
544 pages - told in free verse form
Rating: Ooooh...hard to say......some is 2...some is 3, I guess

After I heard the first minute or so I almost didn't continue. I should have realized that this beginning part was definitely foreshadowing. Pattyn Von Stratton, just ending her junior year in high school, is the oldest of seven sisters with pregnant mom finally about to have another sibling. However, this time it a boy.

Thre's so much to say about Pattyn and her family. They're Mormons who live in Carson City, Nevada. The father is an abusive drunk. The mother, although the main target of the abuse, sits on the couch and watches reality tv all day while the daughters cook and clean and vacuum and change diapers. The girls are raised to obey the father, be righteous, attend Sunday testimonies, and never...ever...think for themselves. They wear homemade clothing and have few friends.

When a male classmate becomes interested in Pattyn, she is torn in two directions - what her bishop and father have taught her, and what her own feelings..and all the reading she's done....are telling her. Then her father catches her in an uncompromising position and sends her for the summer to stay with his estranged sister in the middle of Nevada. This is where I had my second wonderings about the book. Aunt Jeannette was a wonderful, caring, thoughtful, liberal feminist who had nothing good at all to say or do with the father. Why would he ever send Pattyn there? And then Pattyn has a wonderful, love (and sex)-filled summer learning to drive, to ride, and to trust herself and her feelings.

But disaster after disaster happens once she has to go back home. One bad thing right after the next. The ending , after all these disasters, is what any thoughtful reader should have realized right from the first few lines was going to happen.

You hear the last words of the story and say, to yourself: "Okay." "What?" "Well...." and "Yuh, I guess so." I KNOW that if I had any inkling about what was going to take place in this book, I wouldn't have read it. I don't know if I'm glad I had no inkling and DID read it, or would have rather not read it at all.

1 comment:

laurasalas said...

Interesting review. I read this book a few years ago and really enjoyed it. BUT I hated the ending. I'll say, though, that I thought it was well-done and, as you said, foreshadowed. But it hurt. I prefer hopeful endings, even for dark novels.

I won't say more and give everything away to other commenters who haven't read it yet...